Blu-ray Review “Lord of Illusions (Collector’s Edition)”

Starring: Scott Bakula, Kevin J. O’Connor, Famke Janssen, Daniel Von Bargen, Susan Traylor, Vincent Schiavelli
Director: Clive Barker
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Shout! Factory
Release Date: December 16, 2014
Run Time: 109 / 121 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Dating back to 1995, I remember when I saw that Clive Barker had a new film coming out and just new I had to see it. At the time, I was already in love with his work like “Nightbreed” and “Hellraiser”. “Lord of Illusions” shortly became no different. This film was a nice mix of noir, sci-fi and horror. Plus honestly, who doesn’t love Sam Beckett himself, Scott Bakula kicking ass and taking names. Scream Factory, thankfully, is behind this release and they are pulling out all the cards here. They have not only one but two cuts of the film. Disc one is the Theatrical Cut of the film, while disc two feayures an all NEW high definition transfer of Clive Barker’s Director’s Cut of the film making this a must own for any fan of the film.

Official Premise: From best-selling author and celebrated director Clive Barker comes a supernatural thriller that rips apart the boundaries between sanity and madness, and between the art of illusion and the terrifying forces of magic. Scott Bakula “(“Quantum Leap”) portrays Harry D’Amour, a private detective visiting Los Angeles on a routine investigation. Harry gets more than he bargains for when he encounters Philip Swan (Kevin J. O Connor, “The Mummy”), a performer whose amazing illusions captivate the world. But are they really illusions? Harry isn’t so sure as he is thrust into a nightmare of murder, deception and terrifying assaults from the dark beyond. Famke Janssen (“X-Men”, “Hemlock Grove”) and Daniel von Bargen (“Super Troopers”) also star.

This Collector’s Edition release features a solid Blu-ray presentation. The 1080p transfer looks great, especially on the director’s cut. The DTS-HD Master Audio track also works perfectly with the amazing score. The special features are great as well. There is a commentary track from director Clive Barker. There is a featurette “A Gathering of Magic”, which includes original behind the scenes footage. There is more unseen and rare behind the scenes footage into “Illusion of Reality”, which includes vintage interviews looking into the making of the film. There is a NEW interview with Storyboard Artist Martin Mercer, which is a must watch. Lastly there are some deleted scenes with Clive Barker giving commentary and also a Photo Gallery.

Blu-ray Review “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes”

Actors: Ralph Richardson, Ian Holm, Christopher Lambert, Andie MacDowell
Directors: Hugh Hudson
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Bros.
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Run Time: 137 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

“Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes” might not be considered the most popular portrayal of Tarzan but has always been one of my favorites. It is far for the worst, has anyone ever seen “Tarzan and the Lost City” back in 1998. Christopher Lambert aka Connor MacLeod from “Highlander”. took on the lead role in the film and does a great job. This version on the Blu-ray is the same extended version of the film which is roughly six minutes longer than the theatrical cut. This production is quite lavish and very beautifully shot.  It also focuses on the character’s dual nature as King of the jungle and as John Clayton, seventh Earl of Greystoke, heir to one of Scotland’s great estates. So I liked that angle of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ story being explored within the film. If you have never seen this film, this would be the way to watch it for sure.

Official Premise: Hugh Hudson’s refreshingly adult revisionist take on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ immortal apeman arrives on Blu-ray like a blast of warm rain forest air. Robert Towne’s script (writing as P.H. Vazak) hews close to Burroughs’ origin as found in Tarzan of the Apes by way of modern anthropology. The second half may thread in some movie mythos (like Jane as English gentry) but plays out its savage vs. civilization theme. Gorgeously shot by John Alcott (The Shining, Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?), Greystoke also boasts an acting pedigree worthy of Burke’s peerage, including Ralph Richardson, Ian Holm , David Suchet, James Fox, and Nigel Davenport with Andie MacDowell and Glenn Close handling Jane physicality and vocality respectively. But the film belongs to Lambert’s heart-wide open performance as Tarzan and Rick Baker’s amazing simian simulations.

Thanks for Warner Archive for giving this film some love to this.  This film has never looked better on this Blu-ray.  Warner Archive has been slowly crossing over into the world of Blu-ray with these classics and this one really benefited from the format. This Blu-ray was set to be released numerous times but was held back in order to perfect the transfer and damn, did it make a difference. The 1080p transfer looks stunning and it has been taken from impressive sources that have been restored with a very close eye to attention.  The film was originally with Dolby Stereo on 35mm and even had a 70mm release with 6-track sound and this film sounds amazing on Blu-ray with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. It works very well with the action and jungle scenes.  The special features are not jam-packed but still work checking out.  There is a fine commentary track with Director Hugh Hudson and Line Producer Garth Thomas, which is quite detailed and thorough.  Lastly there is a trailer included.

 

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Blu-ray Review “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – Extended Edition”

Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin
Number of discs: 5
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Running Time: 250 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4.5 out of 5 stars

August 28th brings the first time that Peter Jackson’s visual masterpieces have been available separately on Blu-ray. “The Return of the King” is just such an epic film and really deserves an epic Blu-ray. There is no mistaken that this release is the absolute best presentation you are going to get out of this film. If you are looking to experience this film solo from the rest of the series, I would recommend purchasing this release. To be honest the real selling point for me is the Ultraviolet digital streaming copy available.

This film is just breathtaking on Blu-ray both visual and audio. The 1080p transfer is beyond pristine and presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. The DTS-HD 6.1 ES sound is beyond amazing and is perfect for a good surround sound system. When I think of film that need to be watching on Blu-ray, I can’t help but thinking about this franchise. The film is released in five-disc set with two 50GB Blu-ray discs and three DVDs. Also included is features from BD-Live. I know we experienced the same thing with the “The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy” last year but all of the special features are still on DVD, which is a little disappointing to me personally but obviously they make up for the fact since there are three jam-packed discs with extras.

The final battle for Middle-earth begins. Frodo and Sam (Sean Astin), led by the mysterious Gollum (Andy Serkis), continue their dangerous mission toward the fires of Mount Doom in order to destroy the One Ring. Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) struggles to fulfill his legacy as he leads his outnumbered followers against the growing power of the Dark Lord Sauron, so that the Ring-bearer may complete his quest. The film, which won Academy Awards® in all 11 categories for which it was nominated, took wins for Best Picture, Director, Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Visual Effects, Makeup, Adapted Screenplay, Sound Mixing, Original Song and Original Score.

The 5-disc Extended Edition of “The Return of the King” is very rewarding, as was its predecessors. All of the content from the 2004 extended edition DVD is available, as well as Costa Botes’ feature-length documentary like the “Fellowship” & “Two Towers”. The commentaries on this film are in line with its predecessors only going more in depth due to the shear scale of this film. Honestly by the third film the features do get a little repetitive but mega fans are sure to love every bit of information given.

Disc 1 • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Featured Extended Edition Part 1
• The Lord of the Rings: War in the North – The Untold Story Trailer (A trailer for the upcoming videogame) • Commentary with Director & Writers • Commentary with Design Team • Commentary with Production and Post Production • Commentary with Cast • BD-Live™ enabled

Disc 2 • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King Featured Extended Edition Part 2 • Commentary with Director & Writers • Commentary with Design Team • Commentary with Production and Post Production • BD-Live™ enabled

Disc 3 • The Appendices Part 5: The War of the Ring: Peter Jackson’s Introduction • JRR Tolkien: The Legacy of Middle-earth (chats about the debate about Tolkien’s literary intentions) • From Book to Script • Designing and Building Middle-earth • Home of the Horse Lords (focuses on the horses, riders and horse-training using the film) • Middle-earth Atlas Map • New Zealand as Middle-earth

Disc 4 • The Appendices Part 6: The Passing of an Age: Introduction • Filming The Return of the King • Visual Effects (cocuses on the challenges of behind-the-scenes drama, timetables and shooting deadlines) • Post-Production: Journey’s End (complied of four pieces of the “Post-Production”: “Editorial: Completing the Trilogy,” talks about Jackson and editor Jamie Selkirk’s collaborative edit; “Music for Middle-earth” dives into Howard Shore’s fantastic score; “The Soundscapes of Middle-Earth” hone in on the film’s sound design; and “The End of All Things” focuses on the “The Return of the King” face to finish on schedule) • The Passing of an Age (turns to the premiere, international release, reception and the Academy Awards) • Cameron Duncan: The Inspiration for Into the West (odd choice to include but showcases: a terminally ill teenage filmmaker who visited the Lord of the Rings production several times before his death)

Disc 5 • Behind-the-Scenes Documentary Created by Filmmaker Costa Botes during filming of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (same as the first two takes a different approach to the behind-the-scenes look, runs 113 mins)

For more information: http://warnerblu.warnerbros.com/
Official Website: www.lordoftherings.net
Facebook: http://facebook.com/lordoftheringstrilogy

Blu-ray Review “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Extended Edition”

Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin
Number of discs: 5
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed: Warner Home Video
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Running Time: 208 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4.5 out of 5 stars

August 28th brings the first time that Peter Jackson’s visual masterpieces have been available seperately on Blu-ray. I have always had a special place in my heart for “The Fellowship of the Rings”. There has been some talk about the the transfer on this extended edition, but I never had a problem. Warner Bros issued a response that this film was remastered from the original 2K digital production files in order to reproduce the full color imagery of the feature. If you are looking to experience this film solo from the rest of the series, I would recommend purchasing this release.  To be honest the real selling point for me is the Ultraviolet digital streaming copy available.

This film is just breathtaking on Blu-ray both visual and audio. The 1080p transfer is beyond presistine and presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. The DTS-HD 6.1 ES sound is beyond amazing and is perfect for a good surround sound system. When I think of film that need to be watching on Blu-ray, I can’t help but thinking about this franchise. The film is released in five-disc set with two 50GB Blu-ray discs and three DVDs.  Also included is features from BD-Live.  I know we experienced the same thing with the “The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy” last year but all of the special features are still on DVD, which is a little disappointing to me personally but obviously they make up for the fact since there are three jam-packed discs with extras.

In this first part of the Trilogy, the young hobbit Frodo Baggins inherits a ring; but this ring is no mere trinket. It is the One Ring, an instrument of absolute power that could allow Sauron, the dark Lord of Mordor, to rule Middle-earth and enslave its peoples. Frodo, together with a Fellowship that includes his loyal hobbit friends, humans, a wizard, a dwarf and an elf, must take the One Ring across Middle-earth to Mount Doom, where it first was forged, and destroy it forever. Such a journey means venturing deep into territory manned by Sauron, where he is amassing his army of Orcs. And it is not only external evils that the Fellowship must combat, but also internal dissension and the corrupting influence of the One Ring itself. The course of future history is entwined with the fate of the Fellowship. The film won four Oscars® for Best Visual Effects, Cinematography, Makeup and Original Score.

The 5-disc Extended Edition of “The Fellowship of the Ring” includes all of the special features that appear on its 2002 DVD release, in addition to filmmaker Costa Botes’ 85-minute documentary, which was previously only available as part of the Limited Edition DVD release. There are four commentary tracks on this release each one is equally good and one is not better than the next. I would like to say it says something for everyone, whether it be explanations from the director, to effects background to cast stories.

Disc 1 • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Feature – Extended Edition Part 1 • The Lord of the Rings: War in the North – The Untold Story Trailer (A trailer for the upcoming videogame) • Commentary with Director & Writers • Commentary with Design Team • Commentary with Production and Post Production • Commentary with Cast • BD-Live™ enabled

Disc 2 • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition Part 2 • Commentary with Director & Writers • Commentary with Design Team • Commentary with Production and Post Production • Commentary with Cast • BD-Live™ enabled

Disc 3 • The Appendices Part 1 From Book to Vision: Peter Jackson introduces the Extended Edition • JRR Tolkien: Creator of Middle-earth (provides background on the series’ author) • From Book To Script • Visualizing the Story • Designing and Building Middle-earth (Focuses on the development & construction of the various sets and locations that appear in the film) • Middle-earth Atlas Interactive Map • New Zealand and Middle-earth Interactive Maps.

Disc 4 • The Appendices Part Two From Vision to Reality: Focuses on film’s principal photography with an Introduction by Elijah Wood • Filming The Fellowship of the Ring (88 minutes documentary including revealing string of candid stories, scene preparations and camera crews setups) • Visual Effects (creating scale, shooting forced perspective scenes, designing and building incredible miniatures and dazzling audiences with in-house visual effects by Weta Digital) • Post Production: Putting It All Together (focuses on the film’s editing process) • Digital Grading • Sound and Music (showcases the film’s sound design, original mix, sound effects and ADR, and Howard Shore’s score) • The Road Goes Ever On… (Jackson reflects on “The Fellowship of the Ring” post)

Disc 5 • Behind-the-Scenes Documentary Created by Filmmaker Costa Botes during filming of
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (More overview of the production but from a stand back point of view, runs 85 mins)

For more information: http://warnerblu.warnerbros.com/
Official Website: www.lordoftherings.net
Facebook: http://facebook.com/lordoftheringstrilogy

 

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